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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (R)

Agni (अग्नि) is a Sanskrit word meaning fire, and connotes the Vedic fire god of Hinduism.[1]


  • Agni (अग्नि)
  • Agní (अग्नि)
  • Aggi (Pali) (अग्गि)
  • Sinhalese: අග්නි,
  • Malay: Api
  • Agnipura (अग्निपुर = Mahishmati महिष्मती) (AS, p.10)
  • Agneya River (आग्नेय नदी) (AS, p.61)

Jat clans


Agni is the guardian deity of the southeast direction, and is typically found in southeast corners of Hindu temples.[2]

In Vedic literature, Agni is a major and oft-invoked god along with Indra and Soma.[3]

Agni (Pali: Aggi) is a term that appears extensively in Buddhist texts,[4] and in the literature related to the Senika heresy debate within the Buddhist traditions.[5]

In the ancient Jainism thought, Agni (fire) contains soul and fire-bodied beings,[6] additionally appears as Agni-kumara or "fire princes" in its theory of rebirth and a class of reincarnated beings,[7] and is discussed in its texts with the equivalent term Tejas.[8]

The word Agni is used in many contexts, ranging from fire in the stomach, the cooking fire in a home, the sacrificial fire in an altar, the fire of cremation, the fire of rebirth, the fire in the energetic saps concealed within plants, the atmospheric fire in lightning and the celestial fire in the sun. In the Brahmanas layer of the Vedas, such as in section 5.2.3 of Shatapatha Brahmana, Agni represents all the gods, all concepts of spiritual energy that permeates everything in the universe. In the Upanishads and post-Vedic literature, Agni additionally became a metaphor for immortal principle in man, and any energy or knowledge that consumes and dispels a state of darkness, transforms and procreates an enlightened state of existence.[9]

In Mahabharata

  • Agni (अग्नि) is mentioned in Mahabharata (I.60.22), (1.66),(I.61.87), (1.67), (I.70.21), (1.75), (II.28.16-26)
  • Agneya (आग्नेय) (III.252),
  • Agnideva (अग्निदेव) (I.5.),
  • Agnidhara (अग्निधारा) (T) (III.82.127),
  • Agnihotra (अग्निहॊत्र) (IX.36.44),
  • Agnisira (अग्निशिर) (T) (III.88.4),
  • Agnitirtha (अग्नितीर्थं) (III.81.119)

Sabha Parva, Mahabharata/Book II Chapter 28 mentions Sahadeva's victory march towards south: kings and tribes defeated. Agni (अग्नि) is mentioned in Mahabharata (II.28.16-26)[10]. .... And taking jewels and gems from them all, the hero marched towards the city of Mahishmati, and there that bull of men did battle with king Nila. The battle that took place between king Nila and the mighty Sahadeva the son of Pandu, that slayer of hostile heroes, was fierce and terrible. And the encounter was an exceedingly bloody one, and the life of the hero himself was exposed to great risk, for the god Agni himself assisted king Nila in that fight. Then the cars, heroes, elephants, and the soldiers in their coats of mail of Sahadeva's army all appeared to be on fire. And beholding this the prince of the Kuru race became exceedingly anxious. And, O Janamejaya, at sight of this the hero could not resolve upon what he should do.

Janamejaya said,--O regenerate one, why was it that the god Agni become hostile in battle unto Sahadeva, who was fighting simply for the accomplishment of a sacrifice (and therefore, for the gratification of Agni himself)?

Vaisampayana said,--'It is said, O Janamejaya, that the god Agni while residing in Mahishmati, earned the reputation of a lover. King Nila had a daughter who was exceedingly beautiful. She used always to stay near the sacred fire of her father, causing it to blaze up with vigour. And it so happened that king Nila's fire, even if fanned, would not blaze up till agitated by the gentle breath of that girl's fair lips. And it was said in King Nila's palace and in the house of all his subjects that the god Agni desired that beautiful girl for his bride. And it so happened that he was accepted by the girl herself. One day the deity assuming the form of a Brahmana, was happily enjoying the society of the fair one, when he was discovered by the king. And the virtuous king thereupon ordered the Brahmana to be punished according to law. At this the illustrious deity flamed up in wrath. And beholding this, the king wondered much and bent his head low on the ground. And after some time the king bowing low bestowed the daughter of his upon the god Agni, disguised as a Brahmana. And the god Vibhabasu (Agni) accepting that fair-browed daughter of king Nila, became gracious unto that monarch. And Agni, the illustrious gratifier of all desires also asked the monarch to beg a boon of him. And the king begged that his troops might never be struck with panic while engaged in battle. And from that time, O king, those monarchs who from ignorance of this, desire to subjugate king Nila's city, are consumed by Hutasana (Agni). And from that time, O perpetuator of the Kuru race, the girls of the city of Mahishmati became rather unacceptable to others (as wives). And Agni by his boon granted them sexual liberty, so that the women of that town always roam about at will, each unbound to a particular husband. And, O bull of the Bharata race, from that time the monarchs (of other countries) forsake this city for fear of Agni. And the virtuous Sahadeva, beholding his troops afflicted with fear and surrounded by flames of fire, himself stood there immovable as a mountain. And purifying himself and touching water, the hero (Sahadeva) then addressed Agni, the god that sanctifieth everything, in these words,--

'I bow unto thee, O thou whose track is always marked with smoke. These my exertions are all for thee. O thou sanctifier of all, thou art the mouth of the gods and thou art Sacrifice personified. Thou art called Pavaka because thou sanctifiest everything, and thou art Havyavahana, because thou carriest the clarified butter that is poured on thee.

In the "Khandava-daha Parva" (Mahabharata CCXXV), Agni in disguise approaches Krishna and Arjuna seeking sufficient food for gratification of his hunger; and on being asked about the kind of food which would gratify, Agni expressed the desire to consume the forest of Khandava protected by Indra for the sake of Takshaka, the chief of the Nagas. Aided by Krishna and Arjuna, Agni consumes the Khandava Forest, which burnt for fifteen days, sparing only Aswasena, Maya, and the four birds called sarangakas; later, as a boon Arjuna got all his weapons from Indra and also the bow, Gandiva, from Varuna.[11]

Military Campaign of Karna: Mahabharata, Book 3, Chapter 252....Having conquered the entire earth—east, west, north and south—that hero Karna, without any aid brought under subjection all the nations of the Mlechchhas, the mountaineers, the Bhadras, the Rohitakas, the Agneyas and the Malavas.

There is the story about King Shibi who was tested by Agni assuming the form of a pigeon and by Indra assuming the form of a hawk; Shibi offered his own flesh to the hawk in exchange of pigeon's life. The pigeon which had sought Shibi's shelter was thus saved by the king's sacrifice.[12]

अग्निपुर = महिष्मती

विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[13] ने लेख किया है ...Agnipura (अग्निपुर) = Mahishmati (महिष्मती) (AS, p.10)


विजयेन्द्र कुमार माथुर[14] ने लेख किया है ...आग्नेय (AS, p.61) नामक स्थान का वर्णन वाल्मीकि रामायण अयोध्या काण्ड 2,71,3 में आया है। माना जाता है कि यह स्थान सम्भवत: शिलावहा नदी के पूर्वी तट पर स्थित था। वाल्मीकि रामायण में इसका वर्णन निम्न प्रकार से है- 'एलधाने नदीं तीर्त्वा प्राप्य चापरपर्वतान्, शिलामाकुर्वन्तीं तीर्त्वा आग्नेय शल्यकर्षणम्'।

External links


  1. Stephanie W. Jamison; Joel P. Brereton (2014). The Rigveda: 3-Volume Set. Oxford University Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-0-19-972078-1.
  2. Stella Kramrisch; Raymond Burnier (1976). The Hindu Temple. Motilal Banarsidass. p. 92. ISBN 978-81-208-0223-0.
  3. Cavendish, Richard (1998). Mythology, An Illustrated Encyclopedia of the Principal Myths and Religions of the World. ISBN 1-84056-070-3
  4. T. W. Rhys Davids; William Stede (1905). The Pali-English Dictionary. Asian Educational Services. pp. 4–5. ISBN 978-81-206-1273-0.
  5. Robert E. Buswell Jr.; Donald S. Lopez Jr. (2013). The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism. Princeton University Press. pp. 852, 962. ISBN 978-1-4008-4805-8.
  6. Christopher Key Chapple (2006). Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 31, 43–44, 56, 173–175. ISBN 978-81-208-2045-6.
  7. Helmuth von Glasenapp (1999). Jainism: An Indian Religion of Salvation. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 263–264. ISBN 978-81-208-1376-2.
  8. Bettina Bäumer; Kapila Vatsyayan (1988). Kalatattvakosa: A Lexicon of Fundamental Concepts of the Indian Arts. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 226–227. ISBN 978-81-208-1402-8.
  9. Stephanie W. Jamison; Joel P. Brereton (2014). The Rigveda: 3-Volume Set. Oxford University Press. pp. 40–41. ISBN 978-0-19-972078-1.
  10. 16 किमर्थं भगवान अग्निः प्रत्यमित्रॊ ऽभवद युधि, सहदेवस्य यज्ञार्थं घटमानस्य वै द्विज (II.28.16) सहदेवस तु धर्मात्मा सैन्यं दृष्ट्वा भयार्थितम, प्रीतम अग्निना राजन नाकम्पत यथा गिरिः (II.28.26)
  12. Eastern Wisdom. Wilder Publications. April 2008. p. 200. ISBN 9781604593051.
  13. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.10
  14. Aitihasik Sthanavali by Vijayendra Kumar Mathur, p.61